WOLFVILLE – A safe haven and creative space for crafters in Wolfville has been listed for sale but will stay open until the right buyers are found to carry on the beloved business.
At the age of 62, Linda Barkhouse has decided she is ready to retire and will sell the Clayground, a ceramic painting studio she co-owns with her sister, Melanie Godon, in Wolfville.
Barkhouse says the decision was ‘extremely difficult,’ and was not one she arrived at easily, since she and her sister love their business dearly.
“I started writing a little story about our Clayground, and I got more and more sad and thought, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ There are so many memories here,” says Barkhouse.
A special connection
Barkhouse and Godon have owned the business for 11 years and say they originally bought it as it reminded them of making ceramics with their grandmother.
Now, the women have created their own memories with customers and employees with whom they’ve created new family memories, and who’ve been reaching out to share their own experiences at the Clayground, and what it has meant to them.
“There are so many good memories, and sometimes you get busy and forget that. We’ve been talking about our shared memories here, and it makes it hard,” says Barkhouse.
Barkhouse says she expects whoever takes over the business to change and update it to suit their unique approach but still hopes to find someone with a similar personal connection to it.
She and Godon still use ceramic molds made by their grandmother – something Barkhouse says has added a special touch to the business over the years.
“It’s the kind of business that attracts certain kinds of people, and it’s always felt like it connected us to our grandmother. So for that to carry on would be nice,” she says.
Still open for business
Barkhouse wants to reassure her customers that the business will operate as usual and will stay open for anyone wanting to paint ceramics until it is sold.
“When people heard it was for sale, many assumed it was also closed. But no – we have no intentions of closing, and will stay open so long as we own it,” says Barkhouse.
Barkhouse says she has downsized her house since her children moved away and feels the next step is to downsize her professional life.
This means stepping away from owning a business, and toward things like volunteering, gardening and traveling – things she hasn’t had much time for since becoming a business owner.
“I intended on running it for only five years when we bought it. Now, more than a decade later, it seems like it’s gone by so fast,” says Barkhouse.
“It’s hard to put into words – it’s a wonderful little business. I love the Clayground, and I will always have the memories we’ve made here over the years.